It might be doing better than some Western observers imagine
Last month [September 2013], Apple announced its latest iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models. Whilst Apple might be a power-player in countries like the USA and UK, it has yet to make a serious mark in China and India. That might all change soon writes our Indian correspondent, Asif Shaik. For example, Apple has introduced easy financing schemes in India and consumers in BRIC countries still aspire to own an iPhone 5c. Apple ‘s CEO, Tim Cook, also visited China numerous times this year  to check on the working conditions in the factories that make ‘iDevices’, as well as meeting with state officials.
These moves signified its intention to strengthen its position in China and other developing countries.
China has the largest mobile subscriber base in the world and in China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier with 700 million subscribers. That’s more than the combined number of users on all four major US based mobile.
Apple has long been rumoured to want to launch its devices with the operator, which has an active user-base of 180 million that already utilise 3G services.
It has been predicted that should Apple successfully launch its new devices with China Mobile, then its sales in the country would double, bringing in a huge jump to its currently plateauing growth rate.
Furthermore, China is working hard to roll out 4G services, and is collaborating with India to ensure that 4G networks [TD-LTE Band 40] are available in the major Indian cities by the end of this year .
The iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c are compatible with LTE Band 40, and are thus some of the few mobile phones available in the market that do so.
India is an enticing prospect since it is now the third largest mobile market in the world, and one in which Apple has never managed to get much of a foothold.
of course, the Indian market does not follow a carrier subsidised model. Instead, devices are sold unlocked and at full face value.
An iPhone has always been seen as a luxury product, and the iPhone 5 costs around $750 (Rs. 45,000) in the country.
Similarly, the iPhone 5s’ price from us in India is around $900 (Rs. 56,000), which is more than the median wage of an IT professional in the country.
To make it easier for a wider audience to access the device, Apple has introduced easy financing schemes in India that allow users to make monthly installments toward the cost of the device.
This model has seen iPhone sales increase by over 400 per cent over the last two quarters [Q2-Q3 2013].
The easy financing scheme move is a great idea as interest in the iPhone is now at a fever pitch.
Although the iPhone 5c didn’t turn out to be the budget device that was imagined by most as taking the fight to budget handset manufacturers, its unique colour variations as well as the brand value hold sway with most consumers in emerging nations.
However, The 5c’s $720 upfront cost will deter first-time buyers, who will instead be aiming to get the iPhone 4S or 4.
These which will soon be discounted following the launch of these new handsets in the countries.
This way, Apple can clear out its inventory of the ‘older-gen’ handsets, and ensure that it gets a reasonable amount of sales by doing so.
Apple’s next frontier is the emerging markets, and it is clear that the American manufacturer is doing all it can to ensure that it gets a firm foothold in such markets to increase its market share even further.